We’re in agreement at Classic Rock this week; the new Clutch record is fantastic, and you should definitely buy it.
Clutch, of course, are not ‘new’ news. For over two decades these Marylanders have been cooking metal, bluesy, funky and hardcore ingredients into good-time rock dishes. They’ve held favour in more underground circles for ages now, but the wider world only really cottoned on relatively recently.
Their last album (2013’s Earth Rocker) was a big part of that. A big, beautiful colossus of hard grooving rock’n’roll, it was a fiercely focused, identity-cementing record. As good as they got? Not quite, it turns out. Rather than regurgitate this successful formula for Psychic Warfare, they’ve summoned that mighty ‘precision power’ and mixed it with their rollicking spirit of adventure. Lyrical geekery and residual traces of their (early) hardcore era are included.
The main reason to buy it, however? It’s great fun. God it’s fun. Fun AND teeth-sinkingly substantial – from the eye-popping, head-shaking fury of X-Ray Visions, to the steely Western-evoking atmosphere of the downbeat Son Of Virginia. Plus it features excellent terms like ‘three-legged mule’, ‘telekinetic prophetic dynamite’ and ‘sarcophagus’. Yeah, sarcophagus…
A Quick Death In Texas shimmies around bluesy syncopation and funk hints. Fuzzy psychedelia strains swim through the likes of Firebirds. We’ve played the cheerfully funny Sucker For The Witch many times and it’s still infectious as ever (opening with “Every time I set to write lyricals on the women/I always seem to end up the victim of some terrible ass kicking” which we enjoyed a lot). All caked in lashings of groovy distortion.
Perhaps most joyously, they sound like they’re having the time of their lives. They know they’ve got a killer record, in the nicest way possible. Tim Sult’s riffs are gloriously more-ish and dirty, while Jean-Paul Gaster and Dan Maines make a rage-y, propulsive rhythm team. And at the heart you have vocalist/storyteller Neil Fallon – with a lion’s roar and a beard you could hide a ferret in. Diminutive in height, fucking huge in voice.
A definite rock’n’roll highlight of 2015. Enjoy, and have a splendid weekend.